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Dubai, United Arab Emirates

World Agrees to Accelerate Joint Climate Action

The 28th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change or COP28 officially began in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday (11/30/2023). Countries in the world, including developing countries, have agreed on a global inventory or global stocktake as a catalyst for accelerating handling of climate change.

COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber when inaugurating the 28th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change conveyed to nearly 200 world leaders that the global stock take must be a catalyst for greater ambition in achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement , namely achieving efforts to limit temperature changes to at least 1.5 degrees Celsius from levels before the industrial revolution. This ambition must be made by each country in the revision of its national climate action plan (nationally determined contribution/NDC) in 2025.

"Through global stocktake we have the opportunity to unite three core elements, namely mitigation, adaptation and implementation, including through funding," he said after receiving the handover from COP27 President and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shourky in Dubai Expo.

He also asked all heads of state and delegations, who are reported to reach around 70,000 people, to be flexible and use new ways of thinking. He ensured that this year's COP28 will run inclusively, transparently, freely, and openly. COP28 is scheduled to run until December 12, 2023.

"We must be sure that this COP will bring the most ambitious global stocktake. To work efficiently, let's agree on an agenda and move quickly. We don't have time to wait," he said.

the COP venue in dubai
The atmosphere at the location of the 28th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP28) at the Dubai Expo, Dubai, United Arab Emirates / Credit: Erika Kurnia for Kompas.

According to the latest UN Climate Change report, the world is not yet on track to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The actions taken by countries to limit greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate warming are still not enough.

The national climate action plan collectively aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 2% below the 2019 emission level by 2030. However, scientifically, a 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is required.

To this end, the global stocktake plan will outline actions on how to accelerate emissions reductions, strengthen resilience to climate impacts, and provide the financial support needed for the transformation to environmentally friendly actions.

Loss and damage funds

After the inauguration, COP28 agreed to establish a loss and damage fund. This activity is called a victory because small island countries have been expecting compensation from developed countries responsible for climate change for 30 years.

a broken down building with debris
Former small-scale batik industry building has been left by its owner in Panjang Wetan Village, North Pekalongan District, Pekalongan City, Central Java, on Tuesday (18/7/2023). The continuous flood that has been hitting the area for the past decade has made the business owners bankrupt. The workers who depend on the business for their livelihood have also lost their jobs / Credit: Kristi Dwi Utami for Kompas.

According to a study published this week by Dr. James Rising at the University of Delaware, losses and damages from climate change will cost approximately $1.5 trillion USD in 2022. Southern countries have lost an average of 8.3 percent of their GDP due to the impact of climate change.

Until 5:00 pm Dubai time, the United Arab Emirates promised to disburse 100 million US dollars, followed by Germany with the same value. The United States also committed to provide 17 million US dollars. Next, Japan with 10 million US dollars. Then, the UK will donate 40 million US dollars for the fund and 20 million pounds sterling for other related losses and damages.

This pledge is referred to as the fruit of five meetings of the Loss and Damage Transition Committee throughout 2023. The committee agreed on a series of recommendations for funding, despite differences of opinion between developing and developed countries. The differences of opinion include various issues, such as the selection of the World Bank as the entity to disburse the funds.

Special Envoy for Climate of the United States, John Kerry, who was present today, one day earlier on Wednesday (November 29th, 2023), conveyed that the US fully supports the consensus reached by the related committee.

"We believe that this fund, as designed, will fulfill the needs of vulnerable countries. We have worked closely with our partners to propose ways for the fund to be distributed quickly, yet securely, using the World Bank as a temporary storage site," he said.

Kerry stated that the US is working with partners to develop a framework that will accelerate the funds to meet the needs of recovery, damages, and natural disaster anticipation.

"I think it's important that the funds do not represent any form of responsibility or compensation or any new legal requirements. This fund will strive to be present in developing countries that have borne the heavy burden of climate and whose citizens are threatened because they are unable to adapt or build climate resilience," he said.

Head of Global Political Strategy for the International Climate Action Network (Climate Action Network International) Harjeet Singh said the draft decision of the loss and damage funding committee that came out before COP28 could reflect their final recommendations.

"However, this decision does not wholly address the concerns of developing countries, including proposals to appoint the World Bank as the temporary host of the fund. Although the decision is likely to be adopted at COP28, it is important to simultaneously increase its financial coverage," he said in a written statement."

a canal between two fields and a wind turbine
Residents repaired a homemade windmill from the Youth Farmer Group "Lare Terbis" in Baregbeg Village, Lakbok District, Ciamis, West Java on Monday (2/10/2023). This watermill draws water from a shallow river and channels it to farmers' fields. It is one of the ways farmers adapt to the impacts of climate change / Credit: Cornelius Helmy for Kompas.

Furthermore, he said that the World Bank fundamentally agrees to the proposed requirements by developing countries, which includes increasing access and independent decision-making over the funds.

The World Bank must be held accountable for revising its policies in order to fulfill this commitment and to effectively channel funding to developing countries, communities, and vulnerable nations throughout its tenure.

"Any deviation from this commitment will result in the World Bank losing its role as the host of the new fund," he said.

This story was produced as part of the 2023 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security. IT was first published in Bahasa Indonesia in Kompas on 1 December 2023. It has been translated to English and lightly edited for length and clarity.

Banner image: President of COP28 Sultan Al Jaber inaugurated the 28th Conference of Parties on Climate Change at Dubai Expo, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Thursday / Credit: Erika Kurnia for Kompas.